About B Corps
In 2006, three friends left careers in business and private equity and created an organization dedicated to making it easier for mission-driven companies to protect and improve their positive impact over time. The first 82 B Corps were Certified in 2007.
The B Corp community reflects the world’s business landscape, ranging from sole proprietors to publicly-traded companies. The majority B Corps are small, privately owned businesses.
B Corp Certification is administered by Standards Analysts at the non-profit B Lab. Standards Analysts are located at B Lab’s Pennsylvania, New York, and Amsterdam offices. The standards for B Corp Certification are overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council.
Yes! Existing Certified B Corporations have gone public, like Lemonade, Vital Farms, Warby Parker, and Silver Chef. Publicly-traded companies have also achieved B Corp Certification, such as Natura. Many other Certified B Corporations are subsidiaries of publicly-traded companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s and Sundial Brands (owned by Unilever) and New Chapter (owned by Proctor & Gamble). See more publicly traded B Corps.
Each year B Lab releases lists of the Certified B Corporations with top scores in the community, broken down by size and impact area, called the Best for the World Lists. Check out the 2021 Best for the World honorees!
In order to become a Certified B Corporation, companies are required to:
- Achieve a score of at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment and submit it for review. The assessment is verified by our independent Certification & Verification Team and companies will be asked to provide documentation and other evidence to support and verify answers.
- Meet the B Corp Legal requirement to amend the company’s governing documents , making a commitment to consider all stakeholders in the company’s decision-making, not just shareholders. Use this legal requirement tool to find out how to meet the legal requirement.
- Pay the Certification fee. There is an annual Certification fee to become a B Corp, based on a company’s revenue.
- B Corps must go through the recertification process every three years.
- Certified B Corporations pay an annual B Corp Certification fee, which licenses them to use intellectual property like the Certified B Corporation logo. This fee starts as low as $2000 and scales with revenue. See the full pricing schedule on the B Corp Certification page.
- Access to the B Impact Assessment is free.
- Your company may also be subject to additional costs depending on size and structure.
You can not claim the annual certification fee as a charitable contribution for tax purposes, as you are paying for a service being rendered as opposed to it being considered a donation. If you make a donation to B Lab that is separate from your Certification fees, which you can do here, these are the only kind of donations that can be written off.
Yes, there is no minimum size for B Corp Certification.
No. B Corp Certification is only available for for-profit companies.
The length of the Certification and verification process — from beginning the B Impact Assessment to fulfilling the legal accountability requirement to finishing with announcing your B Corp Certification to the world — varies based on a company’s size and complexity. Small to medium sized companies should expect a wait time of six to eight months. Large multinationals, companies with related entities, or companies operating in controversial industries should expect a longer verification process.
Most for-profit companies which have been in operation for at least a year may pursue B Corp Certification; there is no minimum or maximum size. Certain companies may require additional consideration and some may not be eligible.
Every Certified B Corporation adds a commitment for their decision-makers to consider stakeholder impact and a purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment into their legal DNA. Some types of legal entities, like Limited Liability Companies, can make this legal commitment in their existing operating agreement and do not need to change their legal structure. Others, like corporations in states/provinces that have a benefit corporation statute available, will have to elect benefit corporation status. Your company’s legal requirement will vary based on your location and structure; learn more through our Legal Requirement tool.
Start-ups with less than one year of operations are not eligible for B Corp Certification. B Corp Certification is based in part on a company’s verified performance on the B Impact Assessment, which asks questions about a company’s past year of operations. Instead, companies with less than one year of operations may pursue Pending B Corp status designed to set a start-up on the path to full B Corp Certification.
The B Corp Certification is good for three years at which time you’d need to recertify on the current version of the B Impact Assessment.
All B Corps and Pending B Corps are required to amend their constitutional documents to include the B Corp legal language. Companies should seek to meet the B Corp legal requirement before or as part of their Certification. We appreciate that this can be a time-consuming process, and there are some exceptions for larger companies that may require more time to complete the necessary approvals. If you are unsure about the appropriate approach for your organization, please contact email@example.com.
One of the requirements of B Corp Certification is transparency about how each company achieved their score on the B Impact Assessment. All Certified B Corporations have a public profile on bcorporation.net with top level information about their score.
You will only need to provide documentation if your company chooses to apply for B Corp Certification. If your company is simply using the assessment as a benchmarking tool, please ignore this step. The list of documentation requested depends on a company’s specific answers to the B Impact Assessment and is generated after a company initiates the review process with B Lab staff.
For example, most companies are asked to provide their employee handbook in order to verify questions in the B Impact Assessment related to employee policies and practices.
To meet the performance requirement, a company must earn a minimum, verified score of 80 points on the B Impact Assessment. This can be through a combination of Operations questions and Impact Business Model (IBM) questions.
Operations questions focus on the operational performance of your company as it is managed and operated on a day to day basis, such as providing employee benefits, local purchasing policies, and recycling waste.
IBMs go a level deeper by identifying and evaluating whether and how a company is designed to create specific positive social and / or environmental impact. Examples of IBMs include poverty alleviation, or creating a fair trade supply chain. This section is a collection of best practices that are extremely rare but are a defining element of a company’s business model. Small elements of IBM type practices are likely mentioned in the other sections, but the IBM section allows the assessment to isolate these big picture goals and evaluate them at a much higher degree of detail.
To meet the performance requirement, a company must earn a minimum, verified score of 80 points on the B Impact Assessment. We encourage companies to submit their assessment with at least 85 points, as scores often fluctuate during the review process.
We encourage companies to involve anyone that is interested, regardless of their title or time with the company. We recommend appointing one person as a lead; this individual typically completes a first draft of the assessment and then convenes a supporting team to assist. The size and composition of the team may vary depending on the size and structure of your company, however the most common profiles include CEOs, CFOs, HR Managers, COOs, Finance, Sustainability, Supply Chain, Procurement, and Interns.
To submit your assessment, go into the B Impact Assessment website and navigate to ‘B Corporation Certification’ then ‘Summary’. Here you will see any outstanding actions you need to complete in order to submit. Once the required actions have been completed, the padlock will turn into a submit button. Learn more.
If you have inquiries related to specific questions within the B Impact Assessment, visit our knowledge base or submit a ticket to our standards team. In most cases we can provide clarity around what given assessment questions and answers mean themselves, but we will not be able to verify your assessment responses. If you haven’t already, you can also check out the ‘Learn More’ button located at the top right of every assessment question when you go to answer them.
Please select the country where the majority of your employees operate. If your company’s structure is large (your company earns >$100M in annual revenue) or complex (you operate across multiple countries or industries, or have multiple subsidiaries), please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you determine the right Certification approach.
Yes. You will receive questions that are tailored to the size and industry of business when you register on the B Impact Assessment. Please indicate the appropriate number of employees at this time, so that we can provide you with the most appropriate assessment.
As more companies apply for B Corp Certification, B Lab and its Standards Advisory Council have developed models for how to effectively evaluate the impacts of many different industries, policies and practices. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to complete the Disclosure Questionnaire; the final series of questions your company will answer in the B Impact Assessment.
While B Corp Certification is primarily based on assessing a business’ positive impact, material negative impacts are also considered through the Disclosure Questionnaire, background checks, and a public complaint process. The Disclosure Questionnaire allows the company to confidentially disclose to B Lab any sensitive practices, fines, and sanctions related to the company or its partners. Responses to the Disclosure Questionnaire do not affect a company’s numerical score on the B Impact Assessment but can ultimately affect its eligibility for Certification.
Typically, the majority of these responses are minor in nature and therefore no further action is needed. However, if B Lab identifies one or more items in the Disclosure Questionnaire or in a background check of a company and its senior management to be material, it may merit further transparency, and the company will be notified to provide incremental disclosure of relevant information. In certain cases, the company will be required to implement specific remedies to obtain or maintain their B Corp Certification. In rare cases the company’s Certification will be denied or revoked. You can read more on the controversial issues page.
B Lab recognizes that measuring environmental impact will look different in different companies. The majority of the topics assessed in the Environment section (such as energy usage or travel) still apply for virtual businesses. It might be difficult to collate this information if your employees work from home, or in a shared office space. However, the intent is to meaningfully measure and assess the impact of the space your employees use regardless of whether they are company sanctioned or not.
We typically recommend answering affirmatively to questions that are true for a majority of your employees. For example, if a majority of your employees recycle at home, please select Yes for that question. You could also ask your workers to report on their monthly energy and water usage and take an average across your employees.
Yes! There’s no minimum size for B Corp Certification. Your company size will influence the questions you have to answer on the B Impact Assessment to meet the performance requirement for Certification.
In June 2019 the B Lab Global Governance Council approved the ability for global partners (such as U.S. & Canada) to develop and implement new pricing strategies in their regions. In 2019, B Lab U.S. & Canada moved forward with increased certification fees for all newly certifying companies who submitted their B Impact Assessment after Oct 1, 2019.
Since 2016, however, annual fees for existing B Corps have been stable. In 2020, B Lab U.S. & Canada made the decision to further delay a scheduled fee increase to acknowledge the economic uncertainty our B Corp community might face during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, B Lab received more than 6,000 applications for certification globally — a 38% increase compared to the 2018-2019 time frame. And on May 5th, we celebrated the certification of our 5,000th global B Corp. This is INCREDIBLE for the movement, and it has also meant real, significant challenges for B Lab as we work to scale our services and offerings, while remaining in alignment with our Theory of Change and prioritizing our team’s health and wellness. There are now significant wait times for companies interested in B Corp certification, and for existing B Corps working to process their recertification that have resulted from this growth in demand.
We have worked hard to address wait times, and B Lab Global and B Lab U.S. & Canada are actively investing in certification team growth and third-party support staff to serve our community.
Now we are asking B Corps to update their fees from 2016 and earlier, in order to support B Lab’s initiatives and staffing increases that will enable us to provide services, impact improvement guidance, networking opportunities, and certification/recertification engagement that together, create meaningful value for our B Corp community.
The price for certification varies according to the size of a Certified B Corp and based on principles of inclusivity, transparency, and fairness. In general, B Lab costs are broken into four groups:
- Verification and standards: Much of the annual fee covers costs associated with verification including expenses related to our standards review staff as well as to maintaining and developing the standards underpinning the certification.
- Technology platforms: In addition to the certification, B Lab offers the B Impact Assessment as a free tool for companies to measure and improve their impact. These fees support the ongoing development and improvement of this tool alongside the B Hive, B Analytics, and our back office administration platforms.
- Licensing fees: This enables B Corps to use the growing ‘B’ brand on products, services, and marketing platforms, and to support efforts to grow brand awareness.
- Local and global movement building: Depending on the size of a B Corp, the surplus from the annual fee funds growth and engagement efforts both in market and in service to a growing global movement.
The submission fee does not apply at recertification, which occurs every three years. The annual certification fee includes the recertification process meaning that on the years a B Corp goes through recertification, unless a B Corp is identified as being on the large enterprise approach, will not assume additional fees.
The annual fee is determined based on the reported gross annual revenue of a company’s most recently closed fiscal year.
For example, if a company closes its fiscal year on December 31, 2023, it reports to us that fiscal year’s gross annual revenue, and from there that determines its next annual fee.
It is a company’s responsibility to budget according to their potential growth and revenue. If a company does not budget properly, unfortunately, we cannot make accommodations once the invoice is sent.
The annual certification fees are invoiced on the first of the month of the anniversary of your initial certification date (or your ‘B Day’). For example, if a B Corp certifies September 20, 2023, they pay an initial certification fee. Then the company will be billed for its annual certification fee on September 1st the following year, 2024. The annual certification fee covers the upcoming year of service so in this example, September 1, 2024 – August 31, 2025. For most companies, except large, complex businesses, this fee includes recertification service.
Please pay attention to the payment terms on the invoice which will clearly state, due upon receipt, net30 or net60. The fee is based on the latest gross annual revenue information shared with B Lab, so your fees may vary from year to year and it’s important to check that your records are up-to-date.
Failure to make payment in a timely manner will result in a B Corp going inactive and certification being revoked.
For companies certifying for the first time, gross annual revenue is collected in the Governance section of the B Impact Assessment. This determines the submission and annual fee.
As stated in the B Impact Assessment, revenue (or turnover) is defined as the gross inflow of monies received or receivable by the company, less any returns or discounts. If there were no discounts or returns, total revenue will correspond to the top line of your company’s Profit & Loss Statement.
Existing B Corps gross annual revenue must be updated yearly at the close of the company’s fiscal year. This information can be submitted through the Governance section of the impact app or through a form that we distribute annually to the billing contact. Here are the details of how to use the annual revenue collection form.
Invoices are deployed at the time of an initial certification’s completion. Each year following, an annual certification fee is billed again to a B Corp’s defined billing contact. A U.S. and Canadian B Corp is asked to keep their billing contact up to date at all times using the B Corp directory on the B Hive. Invoices will be sent to the billing contact via email@example.com.
B Lab U.S. & Canada has a responsibility to create more equitable access for those who have been systematically excluded from the B Corp movement. We are committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy that benefits all people and the planet.
While modern corporate sustainability relies on practices rooted in Black and Indigenous wisdom, entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds have been historically and systemically excluded from the shared and durable prosperity everyone deserves. In providing Equity Pricing, B Lab U.S. & Canada hopes to make the B Corp movement more accessible to entrepreneurs from systematically marginalized communities. We welcome the professional insights and personal, lived experiences these leaders bring to the B Corp community and movement, and we will continue to explore and implement operational changes that help build a robust and diverse B Corp community.
We can’t realize our vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative future unless we center equity for people from communities that have been historically marginalized. Understanding the history and ongoing legacy of colonialism, Indigenous erasure, and anti-Black oppression in the United States and Canada, B Lab U.S. & Canada has developed targeted programs to advance our equity work.
This work builds the shared understanding that racism and oppression are costly to both our humanity and our economy. Equity Pricing offers increased accessibility to underrepresented voices in our movement, and ensures that financial and administrative barriers are removed for those who have experienced significant barriers to date.
Equity Pricing is the culmination of a project that has been in the works for more than a year at B Lab U.S. & Canada, in collaboration and consultation with our Racial Equity team, B Locals,
Network Leaders, and the B Corp community. We invite you to view the full presentation we shared with B Local and Network leaders in April 2023.
Pending B Corps
The Pending B Corp program is for start-up companies that have been in operation for under one year. It’s a way for companies to signal to their stakeholders that they are accountable, committed to using their business as a force for good, and on track to certify as B Corps.
Pending B Corp status is for early stage companies seeking to signal that they are on track to certifying as a B Corp. To be eligible for Pending B Corp status, companies must have been operational for less than one year. Find out more about how we determine a company’s operational start date, and the process for becoming a Pending B Corp.
To become a Pending B Corp, the key requirements are:
- Complete the B Impact Assessment. You don’t need to achieve 80 points, the B Impact Assessment does not need to be verified by B Lab, and you will not receive a verified score.
- Meet the B Corp Legal requirement to amend your governing documents to reflect your company’s commitment to considering all stakeholders as part of its decision-making, not just shareholders. Use this legal requirement tool to find out how your company could meet the legal requirement.
- Sign the Pending B Corp Agreement and pay a one-time fee of $1,000.
A company’s Pending B Corp Certification lasts for one year. After this point, the company will be eligible to apply for full B Corp Certification.
Pending B Corps complete the same version of the B Impact Assessment as all other companies. For B Lab to know that you intend to gain Pending B status, please make sure you accurately specify your company’s operational start date on the Company Details page. To submit your assessment, go into the B Impact Assessment website and navigate to B Corporation Certification then Summary. Here you will see any outstanding actions you need to complete in order to submit. Once the required actions have been completed, the padlock will turn into a submit button. Learn more.
Since the status is available for only one year, the logo should not be added to any packaging produced during the period of time the company has this status. Use B Lab’s intellectual property related to the name ‘Pending Certified B Corporation’ and the ‘Pending Certified B Corporation Seal’ exclusively on the company’s website and internal communications.
All Certified B Corporations share their B Impact Assessment overall scores and category scores on their public profiles on bcorporation.net. Public companies and their subsidiaries have extra transparency requirements and make their entire B Impact Assessment public, with particularly sensitive information like revenue redacted. Companies that have material items, such as lawsuits, on their Disclosure Questionnaire may also be required to make that disclosure transparent as well. Learn more about the Certification requirements.
The B Impact Assessment examines a company’s impact on their workers, community, environment, and customers. The B Impact Assessment also asks questions about a company’s governance structure and accountability. Questions are split into two categories: Operations, which covers a company’s day-to-day activities, and Impact Business Models, which awards additional points for business models designed to create additional positive impact. The B Impact Assessment is updated every year to incorporate feedback and improve upon the standards. Learn more about the performance requirements for Certification.
The standards for B Corp Certification are overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council. Members of the Standards Advisory Council bring industry and stakeholder expertise to bear during the three-year update cycle for the B Impact Assessment, complaints made against Certified B Corporations, and material disclosures made by companies pursuing B Corp Certification.
The standards for B Corp Certification are created and overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council (SAC), whose members bring industry and stakeholder expertise to the B Impact Assessment.
Although the SAC creates the standards, we invite all interested to provide feedback on the standards. The best way to submit your feedback is to log into the B Impact Assessment and select Leave Feedback next to each question. The Assessment also goes through a private and public beta period in which feedback is collected and integrated into final versions. Expert working groups are convened in order to explore our specific issues more closely in an objective manner. The Assessment is updated every three years in order to accommodate new and innovative practices, respond to the feedback of its users, and to more accurately assess the impact of all types of businesses.
In addition, B Lab has Regional Advisory Groups whose mandate is to deepen the engagement of regional experts in improving the Standards of the B Impact Assessment. Currently, B Lab has advisory groups in Latin America, East Africa, Australia and the UK, which provide constructive feedback and recommendations to B Lab and our SAC on regional specific issues.
B Lab takes complaints seriously and appreciates those who come forward with them. Material complaints are overseen by B Lab’s independent Standards Advisory Council. Learn more about our complaints process.
A new version of the B Impact Assessment is released approximately every three years, with the next version scheduled for release in 2024.
Prior to the release of each new version of the assessment, B Lab conducts both a private and public beta period that allows all stakeholders to provide feedback to the standards before they are published. All are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback on how the B Impact Assessment can be improved. Users can leave feedback directly in the B Impact Assessment platform using the Leave Feedback button next to each question.
The B Hive is the online community of B Corps, where members go to get informed, inspired and connect with each other. Most people use it to get support in navigating the B Corp ecosystem, to find like minded individuals to collaborate with, and to source suppliers and/or clients. In addition to being a source of information, the B Hive is also an incredible place to showcase and share the great work your company is doing. B Lab and B Corps use the B Hive to find stories to amplify and partners for new ventures. Please share your practices as learning and working together is what makes us a stronger community.
Anyone who works for a Certified B Corporation has access to the B Hive.
Our system recognizes who is part of a B Corporation by matching email domains to the website domain you have registered in your certification. If you have a different domain please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure to include it.
The company profile that appears on the B Hive comes straight from your public profile submitted in the B Impact Assessment and is visible on bcorporation.net. If you would like to make changes, please make them in the B Impact Assessment by following these instructions:
- To make edits to your profile, please log into your B Impact Assessment and click the “onboarding” tab on the left-hand side of the homepage.
- Select the “public profile” button. Once you have entered all of the information, select “publish profile” if your content is ready to go live, or use the “save” button to save your work.
See this help article for further tips. Once you submit your changes, our team will review your edits.
You should see your profile changes on the website within 2-3 hours. If you have any further questions, please reach out to email@example.com.
- Complete your marketplace information with the right categories, products and services. You can now also upload an image to your marketplace profile and a PDF with a catalog of your products and services.
- Post on the Ask & Offers board.
- Offer a discount for your products in the Discount section of the B Hive. For additional visibility, repost it in the Community Offers B Hive group.
- Participate in our upcoming campaigns. We’ll keep you up to date with our latest campaigns via our newsletters and on the B Hive.
- Connect with your B Local. They can help support you at the local level and give you further ideas about how to boost your business in the region.
- Use the B Hive Directory to identify B Corps who are potential clients and reach out to them with a direct message on the B Hive (this will go to their email inbox).